According to CFDA president Steven Kolb, part of their success is due to the way the Olsens approached the industry–namely in the same way that any other designer would have to. “Any new designer needs to prove they are legitimate and from the start [the Olsens] came to our industry as authentically involved,” he wrote to us in an email. “It can take time to be noticed. They were patient and did it right.”
Kolb is right. The Row was founded in 2006, and launched in Spring of 2007 with a line of 28 basic knit items. Over the past six years the brand has grown to include a complete womenswear collection, handbags and even a menswear line. It’s an impressive climb to success but it’s by no means meteoric when compared with the likes of Proenza Schouler, who won the CFDA Womenswear Award after four years in the business. Rodarte won the same award after only three years.
Despite their celebrity (or perhaps, in spite of it) The Row was not an overnight success. In fact, it took the label a couple of years before they began showing during fashion week. The Olsens built their brand the old fashioned way: Slowly, steadily and with a lot of hard work.
“They took time to become part of the industry and didn’t expect any special favors,” Kolb says. “They proved themselves with real hands-on talent and not just a famous name.”